LET’S CALL THIS A GUEST BLOG. Okay?
I normally present both sides of hot potato Bible arguments. Not today.
Today I’m gonna role play. I’m gonna write as though I’m a ticked off Christian who believes that a body does not need man parts to preach.
Let me be clear. I’m not ticked off.
Here’s why I’m writing this.
I just finished reading what some Bible experts have to say for themselves in defense of the male genitalia prerequisite for preaching. As I read it, looking for a sound defense, I could almost hear the other side screaming some variation of, “Now wait just one minute there, buster.”
A sense like that, I believe, begs for words.
Now begins the role play.
You know what Christians sound like when they defend their ban on estrogen in the pulpit?
They sound like Christians in the 1800s defending slavery.
They appeal to the same Bible writer: Paul. A bachelor, by the way. We can only wonder why.
- Folks down on the color black preached up the advice Paul gave slaves: “Obey your masters here on earth with fear and respect and from a sincere heart, just as you obey Christ,” (Ephesians 6:5).
- Folks down on the chemical estrogen preach up the advice Paul gave two tiny house churches: “I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to listen quietly,” (1 Timothy 2:12).
Slavers (job creators) and estrogen inhibitors (job negators) both argue that Paul wasn’t just talking about conditions 2,000 years ago. He was giving advice to all Christians everywhere, for-the-heck-ever.
When estrogen activators say, “Now wait just one minute there, buster. Paul was talking about his situation, not ours,” estrogen inhibitors offer a response. It goes something like this.
“Why tag Paul’s words merely to his culture, or in the case of women, to problems they may have been causing in the two churches he wrote his letters to? Why not say he was trying to promote propriety in the church?”
After all, some estrogen inhibitors argue, Paul did write in the same paragraph that women should dress modestly. That’s good advice for all time. So ‘listening quietly’ to men preaching is probably for all time, too.
Slavers and estrogen inhibitors also make the same case about Paul’s apparent flip flop on equality:
“In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus,” (Galatians 3:28).
Here’s their case, in a nutshell, where it belongs:
“Being ‘the same in Christ Jesus’ doesn’t mean being the same in everything. It means being the same when it comes to sinning and when it comes to getting saved. Not to pickin’ cotton. And dang well not to pulpitizing.”
“Now wait just one minute there, buster. You made that up. No way is that in the Bible.”
Maybe not, but it makes perfect sense, estrogen inhibitors say.
They admit that the Bible allows a woman to:
- Spread good news about Jesus. “Go quickly and tell his followers, ‘Jesus has risen from the dead,’” (Matthew 28:7).
- Pray and prophecy. Unless she does it “with her head uncovered,” (1 Corinthians 11:5).
- Teach by singing. “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” (Colossians 3:16).
But then they add this:
“The same Spirit that inspired Paul to tell masters to treat their slaves kindly and to tell women they could pray, prophecy, and teach others about Jesus is the same Spirit that inspired Paul to tell slaves to work those muscles in the fields and women not to work those jaws in the church.
As for the Bible verse that says two of Paul’s relatives, including a lady named Junia, “are very important apostles,” (Romans 16:7) – which was the very top office in the early church, even above pulpitizing – estrogen inhibitors say Bible translators got that wrong.
Estrogen inhibitors warm up to a different Bible translation.
Not “They are leaders among the apostles.” (NIRV)
Or “They are outstanding among the apostles.” (NIV)
But this is nice: “They are well known to the apostles.” (ESV)
“Hi Junia. Nice to see you again. I remembered your name this time. Have a nice day.”
Role play over.
For the record, I’m trying to give you a sense of the energy this hot topic generates when the two sides get together – something they generally avoid; life in the bubble is more comfy.
The points and counterpoints of this role play are legit. You can find them in theology books, written a bit more formally and with an expansive use of syllables, along with words like expansive.
At some point, I should probably write a role play from the other side.
I think I could pull that off.
It wouldn’t be as much fun. And the picture at the top of the page would be of a bald man with a potbelly and a necktie in place of the one his wife should have picked out.
Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member
David H. Hagen
Great article! This issue has plagued the Christians I know something fierce. I say if there can be a woman apostle, then I should at least listen to the good word she has to deliver! I’ve met many women preachers that, although I wouldn’t want to have them as the head of my church, I would definitely listen carefully to any message God gave them!
Stephen M. Miller